A Journey into the Heart of the U.S.-Mexico Border

Oakland University to Host Screening of U.S.-Mexico Border Documentary Purgatorio

Director Rodrigo Reyes will visit Oakland University (OU) on March 27 for a special screening and discussion of his award-winning documentary, Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border.

“Purgatorio is a bold and compelling exposé of the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Diana Orcés, an assistant professor with the Department of Political Science at Oakland University. “It offers a vivid view of life in this conflicted space.”

Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border

Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border

Hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences, the free screening will take place from 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. March 27 in Room 156 of North Foundation Hall, which is located at 318 Meadow Brook Road. It is open to OU students, faculty and staff, as well as the public.

“After the screening, we will hold a question and answer session with Rodrigo Reyes,” Orcés said. “The audience will be able to ask specific questions about this important film.”

Filmed over the course of four weeks, Purgatorio re-imagines the U.S.-Mexico border as a mythical place comparable to Dante’s purgatory. Critics have described it as “a searing, horrifying and at times starkly beautiful ode to the netherworlds surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“The film challenges audiences to re-evaluate their notions that all migrants attempting to cross the southern U.S. border are doing so with purely economic motivations,” Orcés said. “Evidence shows that migration flows are driven as much, if not more, by the violence poignantly depicted in this film.”

Since it premiered in 2013 at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, Purgatorio has been screened at more than 40 festivals around the world including the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Warsaw Film Festival and the prestigious Documentary Fortnight at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

It has won multiple awards, including the Jury Awards for Best Documentary at the New Orleans Film Festival and the San Diego Latino Film Festival, as well as the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary.

“Given the current political rhetoric, the film offers an alternative view that will enrich the audience’s understanding of life on the border,” Orcés said.

For more information about the screening, contact Professor Orcés at orces@oakland.edu or visit the CAS website.

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